The time of the ghost

Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Title: The time of the ghost
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0-06-447354-6
Pages: 291
Year: 1981

Summary from the back of the book: “She doesn’t know who she is, and doesn’t know why she’s invisibly floating through the buildings and grounds of a half-remembered boarding school. Then, to her horror, she encounters the ancient evil that four peculiar sisters have unwittingly woken-and learns she is their only hope against a deadly danger.”

The worlds of Chrestomanci books by Diana Wynne Jones’ hand I liked very much, so with those in my mind I gave ‘The time of the ghost’ a chance.

Sadly, it didn’t lure me in; actually I’m still not sure what I read. The book opens with a girl (or ghost) who forgot her identity and has no idea of where, what and when. The latter questions are slow to be answered, but the phase of anonymous continues for almost the entire book. She knows she’s a daughter of a family with four of those, but which one? So to explain her actions the word ‘she’ is used repeatedly, which makes it difficult not to confuse the different she’s as the story goes on.
To make things even more challenging the shifts between the past and future, as there is much time travelling in this book, were vague. There are surely readers who like this kind of mystery and guesswork, but I found it annoying and tiresome.

To bring some positivity in this review: the part the parents of the girls play was interesting. They neglect their children to the point where the mother hardly ever sees her daughters and their father can’t even remember each daughters name. The idea of sisters working together and defy evil is there, but the story was messy.

Even for a fantasy novel ‘The time of the ghost’ was unbelievable and that is hard to accomplish.

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